Now, he’s back with Last Man in Tower. Was it in Timeout Mumbai that I read a cynical note on the title’s grammatical errors? I just read an excerpt from Last Man in Tower on Granta. Adiga’s latest opus is set in Bombay and possibly revolves around an elderly and repugnantly nostalgic gentleman named Masterji. Playing connect the dots, I wouldn’t be surprised if the plot is about the loneliness of the elderly in modern India intersected by unscrupulous builders coveting redevelopment rights for old buildings.
Adiga represents the very worst type of opportunism – the self-righteous ‘I speak for the oppressed’ kind. I can understand that this kind of writing panders to a specific kind of Western reader who has a fetish for third world misery but the fact that readers in India lap Adiga up like a dog at noon is completely beyond me. Adiga mines misery and poverty as eloquently and thoroughly as Rio Tinto. The ore he seeks is the culpability and remorse he would have us feel for getting on with life. He isn’t interested in the stories of the deprived as much as he is in magnifying their ugliness. I’d advise those who want to read about the real India to check out Mridula Koshy’s If It Is Sweet or more seasoned writers like Rohinton Mistry.